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New York, NY

The Ensemblist is an inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer- from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Whether you’re an experienced theatre professional or a passionate fan, The Ensemblist will give you the opportunity to get to know new performers and the great work they do onstage, while also shedding light on some of the hidden innerworkings of the Broadway experience. Created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, SMASH) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), The Ensemblist is the only podcast that shows you Broadway from the inside out. 


Connect with each of our guests as they tackle The Ensemblist's Q&A!

Q&A: Lainie Sakakura

Jackson Cline

Connect with Lainie

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Lainie's Episode: Original AND Revival (#63)

Where are you from? Bay Area, CA

Broadway credits: All original casts - Fosse, Chita Rivera The Dancer's Life, Flower Drum Song (2002 revival),The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, The King & I (1996 revival), The King & I (2015 revival) 

How did you hear you’d booked your first Broadway show? I went to a massive open call for Carousel at Lincoln Center. It was a sea of bunheads. We even had numbers pinned on our leotards. The morning after the final callback, my phone rang, and it was casting director Daniel Swee offering me a position in the original cast. I was so excited, happy, and proud of myself... that audition was filled with beautiful ballet dancers, many ABT. No one else was with me in my apt. when I got that call so I just yelled and jumped up and down by myself.

What is your favorite event in the Broadway community? I love all the BC/EFA fundraisers, especially Gypsy of the Year. I am always amazed and touched by the generosity of our community, but nothing makes my heart beat faster than the excitement of participating in a Tony Award telecast.

What’s something about Broadway that fascinates you? Our strong sense of community. I don't know if I fully appreciated it until I moved away from NY for 3 years. During that time I felt so disconnected and lonely. I don't know anyone that doesn't miss Broadway when they leave it... just becomes a part of you.

Tell us a secret. I have a terrible sweet tooth. 

What, other than theatre, has inspired you recently? My 2 daughters, Avelina and Isabela, inspire me every day to be the best person I can be. I have this huge responsibility to help them grow up to become happy, healthy, strong, confident women. I wake up every morning, take a deep breath and try my best to set a good example for them and to not only love them, but to make them feel truly loved every day. 

If I could have coffee with any living person, it would be... That question is too overwhelming for me... Barack Obama, Dalai Lama... no idea. I'm just happy I can afford coffee. 

If I could trade places with anybody for a day, I would choose... A Character Actor. I always joke with Ann Harada, "Please Freaky Friday with me!" I would love to once experience being in a show where I get to walk on stage, get the laugh, and then go hang in my dressing room until curtain call. I bet I would finally learn to knit or make something crafty.

To be successful in this business, it takes... I don't know. A combination of ignorance and hard work? If I had known the statistics of how many kids that take dance classes actually get in a Broadway show and that only 1.5% of those folks are Asian... Well thankfully I didn't know all that. I only knew what I wanted so I left home when I was 16, moved to NY when I was barely 17. I took 13 classes a week and worked my butt off. I went to a ton of open calls and when I started working, I continued to take class everyday... So yeah, I guess ignorance and hard work... Wait, am I successful yet?